Pequim has maintained an ambiguous stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On the one hand, he defended that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected – a long-standing principle of China’s foreign policy and which presupposes a stance against any invasion – but at the same time he opposed sanctions imposed on Russia. and pointed to NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe as the root of the problem.
Gao Zhikai, who served as a translator for former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and is currently one of the most high-profile commentators on Chinese television, told Lusa that it was “unrealistic” to expect Beijing to damage trade relations with Moscow.
“China is the main buyer of Russian oil and gas. There is a pipeline for oil and gas. The two countries share a common border of more than 4,000 kilometers, and human exchange is very dynamic”, he explained.
According to the EU ambassador to China, Nicolas Chapuis, the question of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should weigh on the summit, which will be held via video conference.
The “first and foremost” focus of Europeans is to muster “as much support as possible from China”, to “help Europe stop the war in Ukraine”, Chapuis said two weeks ago, stressing: “In this war, you cannot have so-called neutrality” .
Trade between China and Russia rose 35.9% in 2021, year on year, to a record US$146.9 billion (about 132 billion euros), according to data from the General Administration of Customs from China.
For Chinese analysts, Beijing is on the “right side of history”, by “pushing negotiations, rather than pushing for a more protracted war in Ukraine”.
“Sanctions won’t work,” he predicted.
“Of course, they will be very painful for Russia, but they will not corner Russia to the point of subordination to Europe or the United States,” he said, adding that “they will only make Russia tougher and more resolute in the fight for whatever purpose it is.” has been established”.
Gao had previously suggested that Russia’s security concerns be considered.
“There will be no lasting peace in Europe as long as Russia is excluded,” he said. “How can there be peace, stability and growth in Europe, not including the largest country in the world, which has one of the largest nuclear arsenals, which lies next door,” he asked.
Another key point of the meeting was the EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI), whose ratification by the European Parliament was ‘frozen’ after Beijing imposed retaliatory sanctions against lawmakers.
Beijing moved ahead with sanctions after the European Union, Britain, Canada and the US imposed coordinated sanctions on Chinese authorities for human rights abuses in the country’s far western Xinjiang region.
Tensions rose after Lithuania agreed to open a representative office for Taiwan, an area Beijing considers its province.
The Lithuanian decision is seen by Beijing as a provocation, especially since this representative is called the ‘Taiwan Representative Office’, not Taipei, the name of the island’s capital, which presupposes the recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign political entity.
“This is because there are some members of the European Parliament who are actually involved in activities that are considered, from China’s point of view, as a nuisance and a violation of the ‘One China’ principle,” Gao explained.
The recognition of the principle is seen by Beijing as a guarantee that Taiwan is part of its territory.
“If this principle is violated, China will have no choice but to retaliate,” he said.
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